Band Parents

Band Parents

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Driving Miss Maggie

The local Morning new show asks a “stumper” question and invited viewers to call or email their answers. Last week they asked “What is it that most people said men are most qualified for?” The answer was teaching their kids to drive.
Not at my house right now. My husband gets nervous at the thought of riding in the car with our son. I am hoping it’s because he’s under a lot of stress right now. He doesn’t do stress well. He’s studying for a certification exam, he’s been traveling for business extensively and mostly he’s taken on a new project management role at work and knows his client is a difficult one.
Not to say that Hubby/Dad hasn’t tried. The day our son got his temps, Dad came home and made the boy jump in the minivan and drive around the neighborhood. He’d only had about 30 minutes on the road and those were in my smaller car. Ok, so he got distracted when he recognized our neighbor as he was making a turn and forgot to turn. That’s why Dad was there, to correct him. But then again, he is very detail-oriented and tried to correct everything at once.
So I have been having the teenager drive whenever I can. Home after we drop the last boy off from carpool after band practice. Then on a Saturday I was able to map out a route on 2 lane roads to the school where his cousins were playing football. He gets better each time.
Then a few Sunday’s Dad tells the teen,” ok in a bit I am going to have you drive me to the store so I can make a return. “ When the teen is out of earshot he tells me “I am nervous as hell about him driving. All I can think of is if he gets into a wreck, how much will this cost us?”
Me: “This is why we have insurance”.
This feels foreign to me, my hubby not wanting to teach our son a coming-of-age skill. It does not seem typical. But then again He also told me he could not believe how our teen just read the book twice and passed his test. He confided that when it was coming up to time for him to be able to learn to drive, he studied his Mom/s actions in the car. He observed how she took turns, when she accelerated in the turn, how she handled this situation and that situation. He mentally practiced. Ah yes, he did complete his engineering degree about 5 years ago. He has the right mind. His Mom says he was such a perfectionist that he mastered riding a bike by going off on his own and practicing without anybody watching until he had it mastered. He did not want anyone watching him try and fail. The older teen is not like this. He is happy go lucky. (The younger boy is more like his dad).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Small successes Driving..


I have been neglecting my poor blog. I think because I spend more time with Facebook. However, yesterday was a milestone day. I took my firstborn to get his driver's learner's permit or his temps. But as I am scanning blogs, I decided that this was a good time to join in Small successes:

1. I was smart enough to take my son to a local park/forest preserve for his first time behind the wheel. It has roads with speed bumps, stop sins and road lines. We came across the occasional car going the other way. He was able to get a feel for how hard to press on the gas and the brake and how far to turn the steering wheel. He has driven the lawn tractor and his Grandpa's large boats, so being in command of a vehicle with a steering wheel was not new to him.

2. I think I did a really good job of not saying much, biting my tongue and given short, easy to follow instructions. I tried to praise him. Mostly I tried to let him get a feel for how the car operates.

3. I actually feel good about taking him out again. He's not ready for a populated road yet. He still needs to work on figuring out where to stop when coming up to a stop sign. He needs to get a feel as to how close he needs to hug the curb without driving off (did that once or twice).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Update on my teen

Ok, his friend does not have her driver's license yet. She's not eligible to get her permit until November. Her parents brought the 15 Yo home from the Mixer at the All Girls school.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh Boy

It seems my 15 YO has a Girlfriend. For the last few months I have noticed lots of texting. "Who are you Texting". Answer: "K---". "who?" "K---- M-----" Oh.

Yes we've met her, and her parents. She was a member of the Marching Band last year (nope, not this year).

Aside: DS15 is a Sophomore at an All Boys Catholic High school. Girls from 2 local All girls Catholic High Schools are invited to be members of the Boy's School Band. She's a nice Lutheran Girl attending the all Girls Catholic High school. Yep. Oh, she's a Sophomore, with a driver's license.

A few weeks ago they went to a Church festival together. Hubby says he thinks K was driving and picked up my son.

This morning, on Facebook, I saw a note that my son had indicated that he was attending a Facebook event of a Dance at the all girls school tonight.

Hubby and I sat down with him this weekend and told him, Hey, it's great your are going out and hanging around, but remember school is the priority. I told him that I would prefer he wait for serious stuff for after High School. Hubby told him that girl's mature much more emotionally than boys and that he needs to remember that.

Gosh, I sure hope I've raise a Gentleman. I need to start looking out for that and looking for "teachable" moments. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 09, 2010

August musings

Wow, August. My High schooler starts back to school a week form tomorrow. He accessed his schedule online today. I think he's happy. Did I tell you they decided he did nto need to take the Study skills class that the kids with IEPs take? He;s able to take a language this year. He decided on LAtin. That was one of the recommendations of the special ed teachers because they don;t have to speak it, unlike Spanish class where it is total immersion. Frech was also a recommendation due to the small class size.

Tomorrow on my lunch hour I will go up to the school and get his laptop. Then his brother can have sole possession of the Netbook I picked up for them.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We are already into the second half of July. It has been a nice easy summer. The 10yo is still upset that he was unable to play baseball this year. He wanted to play Fall baseball but we overrules him and signed him up for football. Since this is the community league, there is at least one teammate in our neighborhood. I already talked to his Mom and she agreed that carpooling to practices would be a good thing.

His coach asked that everyone attend a football camp. We signed him up for a camp that was to be run by his great-uncle (and Godfather) who is a high school football coach, because it would have alleviated daytime transportation concerns, Bit it was cancelled due to low enrollment. A local high school had an evening camp but it was the week we were on vacation. So we found the last camp in town. It is one of those with the name of a pro her in town, twice the cost of any other camp. Sigh. But Grandma is graciously providing transportation.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime report

So far, the summer is going well. My boys are into their third week of the 15 YO being the supervisor of the 10 YO. There have not been too many fights that I have heard of and the hosue is still standing.

They have ventured out on their bikes a few times. The very first week they went ot Mc Donald's for lunch on Monday, Breakfast on Tuesday and then the 15 YO went to Subway on Wed. My neighbor said she got a could of phone calls "Did you know your neighbor boys were venturing out on their bikes?" It's a little worrisome because they are very busy roads. But I have ridden the road with them, there is a bike lane or sidewalks and walk signs. I'd rather they venture out than stay at home all day. They get exercise and develop self confidence and a sense of independence. I just say many prayers that they do safe things and the drivers stay safe around my boys.

U fortunately the Football camp that the 10 YO was going to attend was cancelled due to low enrollment. We missed most of the others and the we willb e on vacation when the evening camp is going on.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rough waters ahead

The 10 YO had some friendship/social issues this weekend. It's really hard to figure out what is going on. He claims he got punched for "no reason". The 15 YO claims the he (15yo) made a somwhat rude and sarcastic comment about the 10YO-neighbor#1 but that my 10YO picked up the comments and repeated it several times. So the neighbor decked him. I don't have a huge problem with that since my 10YO can't quite seem to figure out how to get along. (These boys have played well together for almost 3 years). Also, th 10YO friend from about 4 blocks away has not been around seeking a play-date in over a week. This is not a good sign.

Hubby wants to know why our 15YO persists in playing wiht the neighborhood 10YOs. The 15YO is seen as the "cool kid" playing with the younger kids. Maybe that's why he likes it.


Hubby tells me last night that this traveling stuff may become more frequent. (Like it can be more frequent than being gone almost 11 of the past 13 weeks). His company is talking about new responsibilities- good for the career leading smaller but mroe frequent projects. But maybe he'll get to come home every weekend. I keep repeating to myself "Continous employment is a good thing...."

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Happy April

Happy April,

Well, the 10 YO is doing very well in the new school. He's out playing with neighbors. Seems like out year is often full of kids. He got his report card from the new school for the last 6 weeks. He got the highest grade is every subject and his teacher reports that he is adjusting well.

Last week he told me he was trying out for a play. A few days later he told me he got one of the lead roles, the Pirate King. He did tell me that it was all of 4th grade putting on this play, but he had no diea when it would be performed. He really had not other infomration, so I emails his teacher telling her I was trying to get a handle on how big of a deal this was. He reply was that her understanding this was a big deal for Alex and while there woudl be more information coming out after spring break that the performance would be May 20th during they day since cutbacks prevent them from staging performances in the evenings.

Hubby is actually home for 2 weeks. Next week we will take a few days and visit my brother in Chicago. We lucked out this year that the Public schools have spring break the same time as the parochial schools so that both boys are off the same time.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New school, new friends

The new school means new friends within the subdivision. It is generating phone calls saying " Rember the kid that came with the other kid to the door last night? He lives on the cross street. Can I ride my bike to his house and play?"

And then the follow up call. "Hi Mom, Kid1 could not play so now I am over at kid2's house. I can ride my bike home." Can I play outside at his house while his Mom goes to pick up his bike?"

Crap, is it now convenient for me to give my 10 YO his own phone?

Actually, this is wonderful. The 10 YO is no longer moping around. Yesterday morning he was talking away. At first I was a bit annoyed, but then I remembered that he has not been doing this, so I decided to enjoy it as a sign of the bad times going away.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Superhero quiz - Spiderman?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

The Flash
Iron Man
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman

You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

I was challenged to take this by someone at work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

School update- so far so good

Today is the 5th day in the new school for my 10YO. He seems happy. He mentions some friends. He's getting his homework finished in class. I will email the teacher to check up on him.

I did see some frustration and anger from him over the weekend. Big brother played his big brother card a couple of times, taking the chair the 10YO wanted and some other slight that really angered the 10YO. I finally looked at him and said "I am sorry that your brother is doing mean things to you and making you angry, but it is time to stop being so mad at the world. I can't change what he did." I do try to keep on top of it and get on the 14YO's case when he does this stuff.

Talking wiht the counselor at his last visit, she said that we need to "get him to stop looking at the world through shit-colored glasses." While crude, it is a good description of the 10 YO's attitude and view point.

I am finding it interesting that he wants to wear athletic pants everyday. "Everybody wears sweatpants" he tells me. Before school uniforms, I did have trouble getting him to wear taylored pants. He is also picky about the feel of his shrits and his socks. He does not like his shirts tight at all. His counselor also said that our capacity for irritation is only so deep. (I picture a well with the bucket on a rope). If some of that capacity is taken up by a scratchy shirt or some other barely noticable irritation, it takes up some of that capacity. I think then we add his daily frustrations of feeling slighted or bosses around by his brother, and he has no fuse left.

Combine this with a sensitive kid who now is starting to imagine slights or insults and we have have an angry boy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It just keeps coming

Living in South West Ohio, we get snow. But we are experiencing our third "snow event" in 10 days. And another possibly storm coming our way Friday. Poor kid is doing a good job of keeping the driveay cleared. I am sure he is wishing for a snow blower.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Hardest of Decisions

I've never been a public school mom, but next week I will be.

Since last post, I did get an email form the Intervention specialist and there is a meeting set for NEXT week to see how to help A. But I talked to A's Counselor and she started asking questions about why it seemed there was such an escalation of his behavior. I told her that other kids seem to be provoking him this week . So she started asking what they were doing about this problem. I sent an email to the principal and her words were "I don't think you need to blow off A's problems by blaming other kids."

Decision made. He'll be in the public school by next week. But now I looked at the calendar and the school is off Monday and Tuesday. Hum. Wednesday then., But it seems as if it has become a toxic environment for him. Not good for a poor 10 year old.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

School, behavior, and services, oh my!

Isn't it amazing how something works well for one kids doesn't work for another?

I am referring to schools here. In Aug of 2007, both boys started at a new Catholic school. My older by was entering 7th grade. The younger (A) was entering 2nd. I worried more about the 7th grader. Guess what,. He did great. The kids embraced him even more than his old school where he had started as a kindergartner. It turns out the the 2nd grader struggled more.

Actually, I have to say that A had some trouble in First grade. He struggled to maintain friendships with his classmates. We kept telling him "You have to be a good friend to have a good friend."

At the new school, in second grade, A decided to try to impress everyone by telling them how smart he is. He'd try to monopolize the attention of any adult that came into the classroom. His teacher brought in the school psychologist who spent some of her time with him during her one day a week in the school role-playing.

The next year, Third grade, there were more of the same issues. We took him to a Counselor on our dime since the school no longer had the services of a school psychologist. We asked the counselor about some sort of social skills class for A. We asked about this because the older boy attended one when he was about First grade and it really helped him. Of course the counselor said a lot of the happen in the school system. (See where I am going here?)

But at the beginning of this year, fourth grade, he made a 180 degree turn. The school noticed a big difference, the counselor noticed a big difference and you could see that A was happier.

Until about 2 weeks ago. The note came home from school asking for a meeting.

We went and met with both of the fourth grade teachers. They said that his behavior had reverted again. He was struggling in group projects and on the playground. One example cited was that in a group exercise, they kept rotating jobs. On the third rotation, A boy was very happy with his job, but there was a girl who did not want to be the scribe so she traded with someone else. A did not this that was right or fair. The teacher did not have a problem with it. However, A just got very angry about it and was seen to be visibly shaking. They keep saying they are afraid that he might hurt himself or another kid. This meeting took place on Monday. We got him an appointment with the counselor on Friday.

Monday afternoon I get a call from the principal. He got into an argument on the playground and was heard to day "If I could, I'd get a gun and shoot you." She asked us to keep him home Tuesday for a cooling off period, and nothing put in him permanent record. Ok. I tried to make it as unfun as I could. Of course he lost the privileges of using any electronics. He cleaned 2 bathrooms, scrubbed a wall, worked with me cleaning the basement, went to the thrift store, etc. In between, he read a book and sang to him self. I guess there was pressure off of him.

So Dad picks him up from aftercare and finds out that before A said what he did, another boy said "I'm going to have my dad throw you off the top of the building." Ok, 10 Year old boys one upping each other. (We have water guns, but no other type in our house).

Friday we get another call. The day before he got into 2 fights. One was in the lunch line where he was arguing with one kids and he turned and picked up the kid behind him and shook him. That mother, understandably, called the principal. Turns out he thought the other kid was poking him in the back. We never did hear if that was true or not. Of course this is unacceptable. A is the biggest kid in the 4th grade. The other boy is one of he smallest.

The struggle I have is that the principal sent him home again saying she does not know what to do. She asked if we had any ideas and asked us to call the counselor for ideas. She says the other kids in the grade are getting afraid of A.

Then Friday afternoon Hubby get a call from the Dad who is his basketball coach. His son upset that A lest school at 9:30 and did not come back without showing any signs of being sick, and was very upset and telling his Dad that is is unfair to A. Coach talked to the Asst Coach who was at school and the intervening adult when the shaking action happened. They are saying that this past week there are three boys who are making it their mission to tease and harass A to get him to blow up. They happen to think it is ridiculous, but I am not going to second guess the school on that.

But why can't the school's intervention specialist help? I sent her an email.

However, this school is a Parochial, Catholic school. It is great for the mainstream, but they don't seem to be willing to work with A. I am ready to change him over to the Public school. That have staff that can help A. It has taken me all weekend to convince Hubby that this is the right thing to do. He's now with me.

Logistics are worrying me. The local school does not start until 8:40. Right now A gets on the bus at & Am and then i drive into work. If I could, I'd start work at 7 AM and leave at 4 PM. I can't see on the website if they have extended day care. I sure hope so.

Now it is a matter of timing. Maybe we can get some assistance from the intervention specialist. Maybe A will once again change his behavior. (Did the fact that he played football this fall make a big difference in his behavior? Ok, so we are trying to rev up his activity level).

Right now, if I get another call this week asking me to take him home before the end of the school day, I am asking for his records so I can enroll him in the public school. Sending him home is not addressing any kind of problem.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010



Lots of stuff going on. Wrestling, band, basketball. My 14 yo had a band competion a couple of Saturday's ago.

Drum solos, 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning. The night after Girl's night out. -Mediate on that. Thanksfully I only drank one Margarita.